Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

HI folks - 

It's been awhile since I posted about my NE Dory, which I hope to enjoy this season.  

This post is about paddle boards.  No doubt the Kaholo is a great paddle board, but does anyone here have experience with other dispacement paddle boards like the Tahoe Rubicon or Edge Cross Fit?

I will be learning and enjoying SUP on Lake Erie, right at the end of my street.  I've built cedar strip kayaks, the NE Dory with the very first lug rig and understand the joy of wood on the water.

BUT, is the 14' Kaholo going to be comparable to the Tahoe Ruvicon or Edge Cross Fit?  

I'll be SUP in calm to down right choppy water, often with the waves quartering from the stern or bow.  Lake Erie conditions can go from glassy smooth to OMG wihtin 20 minutes with micro climates thrown in around points and bays.

I'm sure I could build the Kaholo light and within 40 hours, but cost/time/paddle/shipping pretty much equals the price of the RUbicon which is regarded as one of the top choices in SUP's for a guy like me, 6'1" and 220.

Any thoughts?

Thanks a bunch - Jim

9 replies:

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RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

Maybe I'm missing something, but aren't the Kaholos dsiplacement boards, too? The line drawings make them look too wide to be a slicing hull and with too much rocker to be planing or semi-displacement. Yes, the ad copy reads "kayak-derived", but that's not the same as a kayak hull.

If you look at the videos, you'll see them being used in near small craft advisiory conditions, as well as surfing. I don't think you have to worry about them not handling Lake Erie at least as well as the brand X boards.

I think it all comes down to what you want to do with your time and money.

Good luck,



RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

Hi, I'm 6'6" 240 lbs, and built the 14' Kaholo because of that.  I paddle mainly on the river that gets a confused wake set with the large number of boats and the narrow width of the river. The board is stable but fast. In ocean waves she really needs a convex fore deck to shed water faster. But she can surf. We have gone thru a number of boards that were all around 12'6" that  didn't come close to the stability of the Kaholo, granted she's 14' , but that's what it takes when your center of gravity is so high. We have a custom Kings carbon fiber board thats 12'6" that looks similar to the Rubicon but weighs less than 20 lbs. , cost $2000. She is much faster but not as near as stable, which actually will slow you down over time. 

Cost for me was around $800 for everything, I'm in Ft Lauderdale so everything I needed is on the shelf here, no shipping costs . 

If I build another one I will lower the deck area where you stand by an 1" or more , tapered to the stern, make the foredeck convex by 2" and make the bow plumb ( only for appearance).

Build it, it looks fantastic, she's fast and stable and they sell a 12' version. 

RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

I have paddled a fair amount of race boards and got my first two paddles on my 14 Kaholo today and Friday. It ranks pretty darn high on speed and stability I agree with all the adjustments that were mentioned in the previous post, but she is good as is. I would definitely pick it over the rubicon. I am not familiar with the edge crossfit. Also, if I am not mistaken the rubicon is only 12' and not 12'6" so you would be at a racing disadvantage in that class. Dont know if that matters to you. 

I am only 180, but my buddy is 6'5" and 220, and when he tied it today he didn't want to give it back. 

RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

Thanks for the responses, especially from a few "big guys".  Over the years I built cedar strip versions of plastic/carbon boats I already owned.  Notable the QCC 15' kayak for which plans are available.  No comparison.  Wood was lighter and more enjoyable to paddle.  The experience was different with wood.  That's also how the NE Dory feels under sail.

I will order the Kaholo 14' and pass on buying a "plastic" board.  It sounds like the Kaholo will be fine for Lake Erie as soon as I get my SUP legs.  A commitment of 40-60 hours isn't a deal-breaker when it comes to having it done in time to enjoy summer paddling.

Thanks folks.

RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

Get a cheapy plastic fantastic paddle board (11'6,to small) and you will be just another nobody on the beach! The girls wont even glance at you and the beach bullies will kick sand in your face ! It won't be fun cause nobody will even care !! Now with your Kaholo 14 (the right size for you) everyone on the beach will have an eye on you! They will want to know everything about you and your board ! Man thats way cool ! Did you build it yourself ?Really , your kidding ? Every one will tremble and shake , you will be elivated to God status , a real waterman, the best of the best !!  Just wait and see !!

RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

I use my Kaholo on the Puget Sound which is usually pretty calm but can get quite choppy. We also get some surfable waves thrown up from passing container ships. So far the Kaholo hasn't held me back. I also used it in the 13 mile Round The Rock race which this year featured brutal headwinds and LOTS of chop. It was bad enough that I saw a half dozen people on Bark Dominator and 404 racing boards being pulled out of the water by the police. I on the other hand managed to finish despite it being the first long paddle I'd done on my Kaholo (finished just a week prior!) AND using a super flexy paddle AND having never done a race before. Yeah, I was near last in my age group but I finished. I rode a Rogue displacement hull boat quite a bit before finishing my Kaholo and prefer the ride on the Kaholo. Plus every single time I go out people complement me on it. You know you've done something right when the guy in the fully restored vintage Chris Craft cruiser is giving you a thumbs up and saying "nice board!" 

RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

I have not experience with other store bought boards and assume that there are some really great ones available.   so all that high tech talk aside, if you want a store bought one that is like all the other store bought ones than that seems like a good option and takes no time but the drive to the store.   If you have the time however, why not paddle on something you are proud of.

RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

The Kaholo draws a crowd. My daughter paddled a race on her Kaholo and won in her class - first race ever. We could always find her board on the beach, just look for the cluster of folks admiring it.

RE: Kaholo or just buy a displacement paddle board ?

the kaholo 's a great board and a VERY easy build iv'e built 4 of clc's boats and it's by far the easiest and fastest to put  together. slap on some decorative fabric onder the glass and you'll have a work of art and they are'nt exagerating these boards really do actualy draw a crowd  [ if your single this things better than having a puppy with you]

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